LGBT Center at Ivy League school to get scholar in residence program

News & Politics

The University of Pennsylvania has announced a scholar in residence program at the school’s Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Center, identifying ALOK as the first person who will serve in the role.

“The residency is made possible by an anonymous $2 million gift,” according to the Ivy League institution. “The LGBTQ+ Scholar in Residence provides new resources to bring prominent leaders to Penn’s campus.”

Alok Vaid-Menon has self-identified as “nonbinary” and “trans-feminine” and claims to be a “poet, comedian, public speaker,” as well as an “author.”

“It’s a profound honor to be the Inaugural LGBTQ+ Scholar in Residence at the University of Pennsylvania,” ALOK said, according to the school. “In the face of escalating malalignment we see a widening chasm between the reality of LGBTQ+ lives and the misrepresentation of our communities in media and society. As LGBTQ+ scholars and artists we must continue to debunk anti-LGBTQ+ misinformation while also harnessing the power of LGBTQ+ storytelling to create a more inclusive and magnificent world. I’m looking forward to connecting with Penn students, faculty, and staff to celebrate the living poetry of our existence in these turbulent times.”

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Vaid-Menon uses they/them pronouns, and the college’s writeup about the announcement perpetuates this absurdity. “During their time at Penn, ALOK will be guest teaching in graduate and undergraduate classrooms, leading workshops, performing, and sharing meals with the student community,” the school says. “ALOK and future invited scholars are selected by a student-driven advisory board that is supported by Penn faculty and staff. The residency may vary from a prominent activist visiting for a short period to a renowned queer theory scholar teaching a semester-long class and conducting research.”

The University of Pennsylvania made headlines in prior years when Lia Thomas, a biologically male swimmer, won various races while competing against biological women. “The very simple answer is that I’m not a man,” Thomas said, according to Sports Illustrated. “I’m a woman, so I belong on the women’s team. Trans people deserve that same respect every other athlete gets.”

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